Whenever I coach a client or teach a workshop, I am amazed at how many people either ignore their WordPress settings or just leave them all as default.
I’m talking about:
and Permalinks (for those of you self-hosted)
Most bloggers set up their general settings, or at least check them out. But the others? Not so much.
If you have been blogging for a while, it might be time for a little settings maintenance. One setting I frequently find that people give too little attention to is “discussion.” But, really, if you want to engage your readers and build a community, this part of your settings should not be ignored. Because it determines how hard or easy it is for your readers to join the discussion.
Let’s take a peek.
Default Article Settings
This is where you decide if you want to let other bloggers know that you’ve linked to them in your post. A default setting simply means that it’s what you want to happen every time. In the first checked box below, keep in mind that it says, “Attempt”…(You won’t always be notified, but they don’t do too bad a job.) Also, remember, as it says below, that these can be changed by the page or post. Just make sure that whatever you set your default at, it’s what you want to do most of the time.
Other Comment Settings
Again, very straight-forward. But you have several options you may not have thought of. I always recommend the first one. The rest, well, the choice is yours, but do review them to make sure they’re really what you want.
Email Me Whenever & Before a Comment Appears
This is important stuff. The first box means you want to be emailed when a reader leaves a comment. But the second box brings up the question: Do I want to moderate my comments, that is, read and approve each one before it is published? As a blogger, I’ve never done that. Why? There is nothing more irritating than leaving a well-thought out comment, pushing the publish button and seeing the dreaded words “Your comment is being held for moderation.” I don’t often return to a site with comment moderation turned on. It is especially discouraging to the reader when the blogger doesn’t approve their comment for several days.
Some of you will say, “But if I don’t moderate, I’ll get a bunch of crappy or spammy comments.” This happens when bloggers don’t have a spam filter or plugin installed. A good one, like Akismet, will catch most of the crap. And anything that sneaks through, well, you can delete it or set up more filters (as I explain below).
I do understand that there are instances where the subject matter of a blog may be so sensitive that the comments need to be moderated. If so, at least check the second box by “Before a comment appears,” so once you have approved a reader’s first comment, if they use the same name and email, future comments won’t be held.
Now, let’s bring out the big guns. If you are finding comments getting through from certain people that you really, really feel you must moderate, you have these options. You can have their comment moderated by simply flagging certain words they always use in their comments, or you can choose to moderate based on their name, URL, email or IP address. You can find all of this in the comment section of your dashboard. And, because we don’t put self-promotional links in our comments, but spammers do, the first line below allows you to hold a comment if it contains a certain number of links. 2 is the default here and it works fairly well.
And, for the really bad commenters— you know, the rude, abusive, threatening ones? Well, blacklist them! :
And last, but not least, avatars. This is where you allow them to put their shiny, bright little face by their comment. As a general rule, it’s good to allow your readers avatars to show when they leave a comment. When people create their avatars, they are supposed to rate them, kind of like the ratings on movies: G (acceptable for all audiences); PG (for age 13 and older); and so on. As a blogger, you have control over which types of avatars you allow your commenters to display. So, if you only allow “G” and someone with an R-rated avatar leaves a comment, their photo won’t show. And don’t forget, for those who have registered their email and picture, and don’t have an avatar, you can choose which of the default ones you want to show up (see the default avatars below).
There you have it. A review of the discussion settings in your WordPress dashboard.
Did you find something you needed to change or update?